Cold Spring Brewing Company Employee Spotlight – Kari Fischer

Here at the brewhouse, it’s important our processes are always exceeding FDA standards. This means making sure we are operating “by the book” when it comes to our Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs). From maintaining quality management procedures and leading safety inspections, to documentation for beverage batch sheets, who better to ensure we’re executing proper federal and state compliance than our compliance lead, Kari Fischer? We’re excited to feature her in this month’s employee spotlight!

Currently a resident near Paynesville, Kari  always had Cold Spring Brewing Company in mind when seeking job opportunities, but wasn’t sure about the career move until she connected with a recruiter from a popular recruitment agency called Aerotek in 2019.

“I’ve always thought about applying to Cold Spring, but didn’t know much about the company,” expressed Kari. “I was in contact with a recruiter at Aerotek, and they matched me with a job close to home that they predicted I would be interested in – and I was! I started out as a compliance technician, and I just recently accepted the position of compliance lead.”

In her new role, Kari is responsible for a variety of quality control procedures and tasks.

“A few of my day-to-day responsibilities include creating beverage batch sheets, making sure batchers are following GMP’s, safety inspections, environmental micro swabbing, can inspections, overseeing quality control technicians and training employees to do can inspections and micro swabbing,” said Kari.

What does Kari find most interesting about her role in the industry? The wide range of beverages that roll through our facility.

“I really enjoy seeing all the different beverages that we produce,” expressed Kari. “Our Suite D facility is huge! I am excited to gain more knowledge and see where my journey at Cold Spring leads.”

When she’s not hard at work ensuring our facility is operating at an optimal level, Kari can be found spending quality time outside and with family.

“In my free time I enjoy shooting pool, fishing, doing things outside – which even includes doing work outside – spending time with family, exploring new places, going to the gym, searching for agates and having coffee with my Dad,” said Kari.

Thank you for all you do to support our team, Kari, cheers to you!

Cold Spring Brewing Company Employee Spotlight – Amanda Hinnenkamp

It’s no surprise that we’re a fast-paced, growing company – which is why we need well-organized, enthusiastic individuals to help support our efforts. This includes the multi-tasking role of managing Taproom schedules and events, to supporting the sales of our craft brews and retail shop (which you should definitely check out by the way). Enter: Amanda Hinnenkamp! As our Sales and Marketing Manager/Taproom Manager, Amanda wears many hats, tackling her responsibilities with a go-getter attitude and a positive demeanor. We’re excited to feature her in this month’s employee spotlight!

Amanda has spent the majority of her life growing up in central Minnesota, enjoying the outdoors and supportive community atmosphere. Previously working as a restaurant and bar manager, her friendly personality and organization skills quickly caught the attention of our CSBC managers who frequented the restaurant.

“For the last 10 years, I worked as a restaurant and bar manager,” explained Amanda. “Since the restaurant is local, I usually had the ‘Cold Spring guys’ come in for lunch, which is where we connected. Then, with how the restaurant industry was impacted during COVID, the Cold Spring crew said, ‘come work for us’. I interviewed for the Sales and Marketing Manager role in February and got it! I’m very excited to be part of this fast-growing organization and wonderful team.”

Ready to jump into her new role, Amanda quickly found that her favorite parts of the job involved working with the team and coordinating plans to grow the Taproom’s presence.

“What’s nice about Cold Spring Brewing is that you get your small town community feel, and I love that,” expressed Amanda. “It’s usually the same people who come into the Taproom to support you every Friday and Saturday. It’s one of my favorite aspects about working in the bar and restaurant industry, especially in this area, everyone knows everyone.”

One of Amanda’s main responsibilities as the Sales and Marketing Manager includes focusing efforts on growing the TSB Shop.

“Moving forward in this role, a lot of my focus will be on supporting the Taproom and the retail shop, while also growing our social media efforts and brand presence,” said Amanda. “I am constantly busy as new things roll into the shop, and now, with COVID restrictions lifting, we’re looking forward to seeing an increase in people who just ‘want to go out and grab a beer’ at our Taproom this summer.”

Her favorite part about the craft brew industry? The creative spirit that comes with creating a great, locally made brew.

“I think one of the things I love most about the craft brew industry is how much people take pride in what they make,” expressed Amanda. “And now, as part of my role, one of the things I enjoy most is seeing customers excited about the product. It’s a great experience to work with people who take a lot of pride and ownership in what they do and to play a part.”

When Amanda looks to the future of Cold Spring Brewing, she is excited to be part of the expansion and opportunities for growth.

“Right now, we’re seeing growth as a company, and we’re constantly growing our brand,” said Amanda. “And I think it’s exciting to actually see that success and be part of it. Just to watch operations that originally started in this small town expand is inspiring.”

When she’s not hard at work managing and organizing the Taproom and TSB sales, Amanda is spending quality time at her country home with her family and pets.

“I have kids so I don’t really have ‘free time,’” laughed Amanda. “I have two girls, and we do a lot of things outside, like swimming, playing with the animals and other outdoor activities. With two young kids, we’re constantly ‘go go go’!”

Thank you for all you do to support our team, Amanda, we’re happy to have you on board! Cheers!

Cold Spring Brewing Company Employee Spotlight – Tony Gehrke

Whenever you crack a cold can of Hop Lift, do you ever stop to wonder how many machines are involved in the brewing process? Well, we sure do, and operating and ensuring the proper maintenance of those machines is no small feat. After all, it’s not just the machines that prepare the beer – we’re talking about machines that perform labeling, packaging, distribution – you name it. While it’s true, we do it all for the sake of crafting an amazing brew, we know we couldn’t do it without the help of our maintenance technicians. That’s why, this month, we’re proud to feature our top notch maintenance tech, Tony Gehrke!

Tony has over thirty years of experience working on a variety of machines and operations. Day-in and day-out, he ensures that our machines are running smoothly and safely.

“I have been in machine maintenance for most of my career, and when the company I was working for decided to relocate, I found myself looking for a new job,” Tony explained. “I applied here at Cold Spring Brewing Company and was offered the job immediately after my interview. I was excited about the new challenges and immediately accepted.”

Seeking out a well-known, established company in the area was one of the main aspects that drew Tony to Cold Spring Brewing Company, as well as the opportunity for growth.

“I will have been with Cold Spring Brewing Company for two years this August,” said Tony. “I applied as I knew the company had been around for a very long time, and I knew they were still growing. But, I didn’t realize how big they were until my interview. Being part of a solid company that is still experiencing growth was a big reason why I chose Cold Spring.”

As a machine technician, Tony is responsible for preventative maintenance, and maintaining and repairing components of our three re-pack production lines.

“I make adjustments as needed to keep the lines running smoothly. I do preventive maintenance like greasing and oiling as well as preventive repairs when components are beginning to wear out to prevent breakdowns before they happen,” Tony explained. “Two of the high-speed machines run 24/7, and my main responsibility is to make sure they are kept up and running.”

While no two days are the same for Tony, whether he’s working on a machine or training new team members, he’s always ready to lend a hand.

“The first thing I do in the morning is communicate with the previous shift maintenance person about any issues, changes or repairs they have had to deal with. The next thing I do is walk around the machines and inspect them for anything that shows signs of wear or malfunction,” explained Tony. “My ‘in-between’ time typically consists of preparing replacement parts for components we use and wear out regularly. I also research and order parts and supplies we need to maintain the equipment, and I help train personnel on proper operating procedures and safety issues.”

What does Tony like most about working in the craft brew industry? It all comes down to the processes, people and products.

“I just find the whole process interesting, everything from mixing ingredients and canning and packing the products, to shipping it out the door,” expressed Tony. “A lot goes into the whole process, and the machines we use are amazing. Plus, it’s fun to be able to walk into a bar or store and say ‘I helped make that!’ And, of course, working with great people makes it a great job too. We’re truly a team here.”

When he’s not working hard at our operation, Tony enjoys just about everything. From spending time with family and friends to – you guessed it – fixing things.

“I like spending time with family and friends, but oddly enough, my main hobby is fixing things,” laughed Tony. “Mainly things with four wheels or boats, I enjoy fixing up older cars and 4x4s. But, I also enjoy boating, fishing, golfing, riding ATV, drag racing, attending sporting events, traveling and exploring.”

Thank you for all your hard work, Tony! Cheers to you!

Cold Spring Brewing Employee Spotlight – Kelsey Kneisl

When you stop at your local liquor store to pick up a crisp, cold pack of your favorite Third Street Brew, you might not be aware of what goes on behind the scenes to get that beverage from our facilities to your fridge, which is why our team is grateful to have outstanding leaders who help manage all shipments coming to and from our operations. This month, we’re proud to feature a key player from our warehouse team, Kelsey Kneisl!

A Cold Spring native, Kelsey was born and raised in the area and has been working with Cold Spring Brewing Company for the past five years. As the Warehouse Manager of two warehouses, Kelsey has been an integral part of ensuring our shipment process flows smoothly,

“The main part of my role is helping with the receiving, storage and distribution of all supplies, products and raw materials that come in or go out of our facilities,” explained Kelsey. “Providing direction to the warehouse personnel to ensure the most efficient and timely response to all requests from production, customers or other departments of the company. Everything that comes from this warehouse we manage, along with the inventory.”

In a fast-paced, ever-changing environment, Kelsey enjoys seeing how the operations have changed and is curious about what brews are currently “flying off the shelves”.

“Over the past five years that I’ve been here, I find that the warehouse is constantly changing,” said Kelsey. “Every day is fast-paced, one day we might have 160 loads going out and 72 coming in, the next day it might be more! It makes me truly grateful to work with such a great team who helps ensure our warehouse operations run like clockwork.”

As Kelsey looks towards the future of Cold Spring Brewing Company, she anticipates exciting opportunities for growth and development.

“I’m just excited for us to continue to grow,” expressed Kelsey. “Over the past few years we’ve added new products, hit record numbers and consistently proven that we can hit volumes, so I look forward to seeing where the market trends take us. And, of course, the high shipping numbers that correlate with it.”

When Kelsey isn’t busy being a rockstar warehouse manager, she enjoys spending time with her husband and step-daughter, playing sand volleyball with friends in the summer and time off at the lake. Thank you for all you do, Kelsey, cheers!

Cold Spring Brewing Employee Spotlight – Sara Braegelmann

At our Cold Spring Brewing Company production floor, it takes a lot of moving parts to ensure each and every batch of our brews are properly packaged, codes are scanned and reports are accurate before our cases get the “green light” to go to market. It takes an outstanding leader to make sure operations run smoothly which is why, this month, we’re raising our glasses to our outstanding production lead, Sara Braegelmann!

Originally from the Cold Spring area, Sara’s journey with Cold Spring Brewing Company began in 2019.

“At the time, I was looking for a more steady job and Cold Spring Brewing Company’s temp service reached out to me,” expressed Sara. “When I started, I was working on the line and learning how to use the machines. Later that year, the production facility acquired new machines which meant they needed employees to provide training – so they offered me a production lead position and I accepted!”

As production lead, Sara is responsible for leading daily meetings with her team, where she discusses how the team performed the day before, assesses any changes that need to be made to production processes and educates on the proper use of equipment and operator safety.

“After our morning meetings, my team heads to the production floor where I communicate with my forklift drivers on where to pull products from,” explained Sara. “Another part of my job involves taking our LPNs – our license plate numbers that tell us what product is which – and scanning reports using the codes. These codes have all the information about our product. I scan our reports at the end of my shift, make sure they are accurate, and send them to inventory and the supervisors, ensuring everyone is informed about what’s going on in the production side of things.”

What does Sara enjoy most about the craft brew biz? The endless opportunities.

“One thing I enjoy most about this business is that there are a lot of opportunities,” said Sara. “I always tell my crew, ‘don’t be afraid if you want to try something new’, if you want to learn a new process or try something new, you have the chance to do that here. There’s plenty of opportunities to move up and I think, with how the company has been expanding, it shows we’re moving in the right direction.”

When she’s not busy leading her team or ensuring our production facilities are operating efficiently, Sara embraces any opportunity she has for adventure.

“In my free time I like to travel, hang out with family and friends, watch sports – especially football and baseball – hike, really anything spontaneous!” expressed Sara.

Thank you for all you do, Sara, cheers to you!

Cold Spring Brewing Employee Spotlight – Angela Zumwalde

While we love our barley, hops and malts, the ingredient that makes our craft brews so special is our outstanding employees. Our team is made up of people who love a good challenge and who are passionate about finding the best processes for crafting, batching, packaging and distributing our products. While no two days are the same at the brewery, having strategic leaders who we can trust certainly helps make the operations run smoothly. This month, we’re proud to feature our energetic, fun-loving line lead, Angie Zumwalde as our employee spotlight.

Originally from Richmond, Angie started out as a temp for Cold Spring Brewing Company in. Eventually, she worked her way up the chain to become a skillful and experienced line lead.

“I was fortunate to gain a lot of great experience working as a temp before becoming a line lead,” expressed Angie. “Being a line lead is right up my alley as it consists of creating training documents for machines, working in production operations, capturing data and creating tools to make tasks and processes as easy as possible for other leads and operators.”

Working primarily in the packaging facilities, Angie sees every challenge as an opportunity where she can help streamline processes for others.

“My role changes day to day,” Angie explained. “A lot of assignments and projects are long-term, there are processes that need to be reevaluated for additional clarification, color coding for new machines and updates to the training program that I’ve been writing as well. Overall, my goal is to create a visual association with the operations and make it as simple as possible for the rest of the team. When I walked into the facility and see a machine I’ve never worked with, I look at if from the angle of ‘how can I simplify this?’”

One of the aspects that Angie values most about Cold Spring Brewing Company is the inclusive, family culture.

“The craft brew industry is just like a big, extended family,” Angie said. “One of my favorite things to do is road-trip around the country to different breweries and, no matter where I go, I always try to bring a few cases of our Cold Spring brews to share!”

When asked what she is most excited about for the future of Cold Spring Brewing Company, she can’t wait to dig into the numbers to see how processes have improved from 2020.

“I’m a bit of a nerd for numbers and one of the things I enjoy doing most is data collection,” expressed Angie. “I do a lot of processes in Excel, and I have a full year’s worth of data from the projects we’ve completed in 2020. I’m really looking forward to seeing how we’ve improved processes as we move into a new year.”

If life as a line lead and road-tripping beer connoisseur doesn’t keep Angie busy enough, she is also taking classes to become a vet surgeon at the University of Minnesota in addition to keeping busy on her new 60-acre farm with her rescue dog, Waco. Thank you for all you do, Angie, cheers!

Cold Spring Brewing Employee Spotlight – Heather Hallila

In the food and drink industry, it takes a village to ensure all products are compliant with local, state and federal regulations. There are permits that need passing, weekly testing, proper policies and procedures to follow, and more. All this before our tasty brews can be batched and shipped to a liquor store near you! So, who is responsible for getting the compliance ball rolling? Our outstanding Compliance Manager, Heather Hallila of course! This month, we’re raising our glasses to Heather, who is an integral part of ensuring our brewhouse is up to regulatory standards and in tip-top shape.

As compliance manager, Heather prepares audits, files taxes and ensures all our TSB permits and bonds are current. She also works with Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau- regulated alcohol permitting groups and customers on the alcohol approval process, prepares and reviews brewhouse policies and procedures, and audits our internal processes for our production and warehouse facilities. If one thing’s for certain, Heather’s role keeps her busy!

“This summer, I will have been employed with Cold Spring for twenty years,” said Heather. “Before starting my position as Compliance Manager, I previously worked in quality control, customer service, scheduling and planning at the brewery.”

Originally from Buffalo, MN, Heather’s start with Cold Spring began when she started college at St. Cloud State University.

“Attending college at SCSU, I had been to Cold Spring a few times as it was close by. It seemed like a cozy little town, inviting. A place you could settle down,” expressed Heather. “After just finishing college with a degree in Biology and Chemistry, my family and I attended the annual ‘Cold Spring Days’ and made a stop at the brewery to try a few of the beers. I met the president, at the time, and started chatting about if they had any lab positions open. At the time, they didn’t have anyone in the role, so he asked me when I could start. I guess it was fate!”

A craft brew fan herself, it’s no surprise that being part of the innovation which drives our
brewery’s flavors is one of Heather’s favorite perks of the job.

“One of the most interesting things about working in a brewery is seeing how new products and types of drinks are constantly emerging,” said Heather. “New flavors, new ideas, new concepts, it’s exciting to be part of the process.”

When Heather looks at Cold Spring’s future, she sees the potential for growth, looking forward to what the “next big thing” is going to be in the industry.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we grow and evolve, running products that are delicious, innovative, and of course, high-quality,” expressed Heather. “In the twenty years that I’ve worked at the brewery I’ve seen so much change, growth and promise for the future. It’s very exciting and I feel fortunate to be able to grow and change alongside Cold Spring Brewing Company.”

When she’s not busy being a rock star Compliance Manager, Heather loves working on DIY projects around the house, gardening, reading and writing. Cheers to you, Heather!

Cold Spring Brewing Employee Spotlight – Ike Anderson

The main ingredient to our stellar beer? Fantastic Minnesota water of course. A lot of work goes into the water production of crafting our high-quality brews; our process requires a number of permits with local and state offices, weekly testing, monthly reports and compliance to ensure our water efficiency and wastewater treatment operations are running smoothly. To handle all-things water-related, there’s no better man to call than our go-to environmental engineer, Ike Anderson!

A Madison, Minnesota native, Ike moved to Saint Cloud, Minnesota in 2007 where he graduated from Saint Cloud State University with a B.S. in General Biology. By 2011, he was seeking a permanent job in the area.

“Originally I applied for a Lab Tech position at the local brewery, while there were no open positions in the lab, I was offered a role in the batching department,” said Ike. “Since then, I’ve had probably eight different job titles in the time I’ve been here, I’ve really moved around a lot within the company. I started working the night shift here in 2011 – a very different time for the Brewery! From 2015 to 2017 I moved to Missouri to court and marry my wife Ali, then we moved back to central Minnesota to have kids.”

Ike’s experience and skills make him a perfect fit for the many responsibilities that come with the environmental engineer’s role. From mechanical troubleshooting to data collection and analysis, to project oversight and working with various government offices to acquire permit compliance, Ike rarely has a slow day.

“I oversee the wastewater treatment plant, which is where our industrial production waste is treated prior to going to the City Municipal Treatment Plant,” explained Ike. “We have a number of permits with local and state offices that require weekly testing and monthly reports, I maintain that compliance for the brewery. I also keep track of a number of water use and water efficiency spreadsheets, consult on water treatment issues that occur on the incoming water side of things and provide technical assistance to management on expansion projects if we find there is going to be a big uptick in water use or waste.”

When asked what he enjoys most about the craft brew industry, Ike loves to share his passion for his role with others.

“It’s always fun to meet new people and when they ask ‘what do you do?’ you get to tell them you work at a brewery!” expressed Ike. “Their eyes light up and the conversation is generally very fun after that, it’s a really relatable opening. Everyone has an opinion, whether they like beer or not, and I think it’s interesting to hear what people have to say. I really enjoy being asked questions about the internal workings of the brewhouse, it’s a fun part of the job.”

What’s Ike looking forward to most when it comes to the future of Cold Spring? The ever increasing expansion opportunities.

“We’ve doubled in size here in Minnesota in the last three years, it’s been non-stop expansions in that time,” said Ike. “I’m excited to refocus and really concentrate on making our ‘new normal’ even more efficient than it is, we have a ton of new systems and most of the focus has just been on getting everything fired up and running. Now is the time to make it work even better.”

When Ike isn’t hard at work, he and his wife, Ali, have their hands full with a six-month-old and three-year-old. If he has the chance to sneak away, he enjoys playing video games with college buddies, reading and whatever woodworking project comes his way. Thank you for all you do, Ike! Cheers to you!

Cold Spring Brewing Employee Spotlight – Mat Eischens

The process control supervisor plays a crucial role when it comes to crafting our tasty brews. It requires overseeing plant operations for reverse osmosis (RO) water production, performing daily checks for our refrigerant system, ensuring proper water treatment of our cooling towers and a host of other technical responsibilities that all work to ensure a high-quality product from facility to fridge.

Lucky for us, we have just the man for the job.

Mat Eischens has been with Cold Spring Brewing Company for the past 14 years. A Cold Spring, Richmond-area native, Mat first became interested in our up-and-coming brewhouse happenings back in September 2006 – jumping at the chance to apply for one of our fast-paced positions.

“When I first applied to the brewery, they had been growing fast and had plenty of job openings,” explained Mat. “Also, at the time, energy drinks had just started to become very popular and with the brewery producing them, I thought it would be a great opportunity to break into a trending market.”

As process control supervisor, Mat oversees multiple brewhouse operations for our Plant A and Plant B facilities.

“My day-to-day consists of overseeing operations for the water treatment of our cooling towers, ensuring proper RO water production, helping out with the daily rounds for our refrigerant system, inspecting our pasteurizer and boiler room operations, and assisting with daily checks on our treatment plants,” said Mat. “My role is mainly to make sure that everything is functioning properly – after all, no one thinks about water until there is none!”

When asked about the most interesting aspect of working in the brewing industry, Mat said that he enjoys seeing how it is evolving and looks forward to seeing where it will go.

“I like working in the high speed environment of a brewery,” expressed Mat. “I also enjoy seeing how the industry is constantly adapting depending on new market trends.”

When Mat isn’t busy at the brewhouse, he enjoys hunting, ice fishing, golfing, watching racing and hanging out with his wife Lori and their kids Landon and Maya. Cheers to you and thank you for all you do, Mat!

Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program

I think we can all agree that clean water = great beer. That’s why we are happy to announce yet another Minnesota Water Quality Certified farmer! Through our partnership with Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District, every farm that gets the water quality certification also receives a Minnesota Gold 16 oz. 12 pack and a Minnesota Gold tin sign.

McAndrews Dairy LLC, consisting of Joe, Betty, Michael, and Kate, from Sauk Centre, recently became water quality certified through the MN Ag Water Quality Certification Program. Over the past few years, they have made upgrades to their manure storage facilities, which has allowed them to more efficiently utilize the manure generated from their 400-cow dairy. They are also utilizing no-till planting and cover crops in their cropping system to reduce the potential for runoff and leaching of nutrients and sediment to water resources. To become certified, they agreed to install alternative tile inlets on all open tile inlets to further improve water quality. Thank you for all you do to support this clean water initiative, McAndrews Dairy, and congratulations on the certification!

From left to right: Dennis Fuchs, Stearns County SWCD Administrator, Michael McAndrews, and Mark Lefebvre, SWCD Nutrient Management Specialist